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BILL VAUGHAN’S TASTY CLIPS: At 82, Ramsey Lewis happy to be playing Long Beach Jazz Festival

To master pianist Ramsey Lewis, returning for the milestone 30th anniversary Long Beach Jazz Festival (Aug. 11-13) is sheer pleasure. Its scenic outdoor setting and attentive audiences having fun are just a sample of the plusses he cited about the celebrated three-generation, family-produced event at Rainbow Lagoon Park.

“Also the other musicians invited to play,” Lewis said of a lineup that this year features Marcus Miller, Rachelle Ferrell, Boney James, Will Downing, Najee, Poncho Sanchez, Bob James and Spyro Gyra, to name a few. “You later get to say hello to them. Many times you see each other passing in airports and only get to hang out a minute or two.”

The last time your Tasty Clips columnist saw the three-time Grammy winner was in the late 1980s when he was touring with fellow legend Nancy Wilson. Lewis talked about twice trying to coax the beloved vocalist to return to the stage.

“A corporation was having a big deal and wanted Nancy and I to do this thing,” Ramsey said. “I said, ‘Nancy, its $50,000 for you and $50,000 for me and all they want is about 35 minutes.’ She wasn’t impressed with the idea. When somebody turns down something like that, they’re retired.”

Famous for a litany of hits across generations including the 1960s chart toppers “The In Crowd,” “Hang On Sloopy” and “Wade in the Water;” and the Maurice White-produced 1974 smash “Sun Goddess,” the 82 year-old continues to tour with the Urban Knights, is planning a new album and writing a book to coincide with its release.

Lewis scoffs at the notion that his genre has diminished in popularity.

“Now there are no clubs or taverns,” he explained. “So the culture of music in the U.S. has totally changed. If there were no jazz bands in high schools or colleges then I would say c’est la vie. Jazz it’s over. [But] there are 10 to 15 great players on every instrument and about 50 to 70 who play their buns off. Though touring is not what it should be, so many are teaching. Jazz, it ain’t dead yet.”

Tickets for the Long Beach Jazz Festival are still available through Rainbow Promotions, LLC at (562) 424-0013 or online at http://bit.ly/LongBeachJazzFestival.

CLIPPETTES: Ava DuVernay, America Ferrera, Peter Bogdanovich, Larry Wilmore and Dee Rees are among the participants of the fifth annual Sundance Next Fest running through Aug. 13 at Theatre at Ace Hotel in downtown. For more info, visit sundance.org/next

Filmmakers Sabaah Folayan and Damon Davis’ riveting documentary “Whose Streets?” opens this weekend nationwide. Dedicated to Michael Brown, the film looks at his Ferguson, Missouri, community and drives home the message that “this isn’t your daddy’s civil rights movement”

Trumpeter Scotty Barnhart blows at the World Stage Performance Gallery on Aug. 11

Percy “Master P” Miller continues to add to his resume by being named president of the Global Mixed Gender Basketball (GMGB) Professional League 

SU Magazine’s 17th Anniversary Celebration Event at Avalon Hollywood on Aug. 12 will be hosted by former Miss USA Nia Sanchez with performances from talent featured on “The Voice,” fashion shows led by “ANTM” transgender breakout Isis King and sets by DJ Snoopadelic, aka Snoop Dogg. Later, reggae star Wayne Wonder is in concert at Los Globos

Fox’s live musical version of “A Christmas Story” has cast Maya Rudolph (“Bridesmaids” “SNL”) as little Ralphie’s mom Blanche. It airs on Dec. 17

The third annual Summer Breeze Festival at Long Beach’s Queen Mary Park (Aug. 12-13) has an impressive line-up including Keith Sweat, Bobby Brown, Guy w/ Teddy Riley, Faith Evans, Dru Hill w/ Sisqo, Al B. Sure, Adina Howard, 112, Monica and Brandy plus many more

The latest animated DC Universe original movie, “Batman and Harley Quinn,” is having its world premiere in theaters nationwide one night only, Aug. 14. Visit fathomevents.com for details

GZA performs at the Regent Theater on Aug. 14; while Bryson Tiller is at the Greek

Jill Scott makes her Hollywood Bowl debut on Aug. 16 with the Robert Glasper Experiment opening

DJ Quik & Scarface are headlining the Novo downtown on Aug. 17. Also that evening, Spoken Funk is at the Cupcake Theatre feat. London Brown (“Ballers”) and Poetri.

TASTY QUIP: “[Trump’s] He’s a polarizing dude. He’s like a bad DJ at a good party” – DAVE CHAPPELLE on “The Late Show”

TC ON TV: Aug. 11 – “Naked” (Netflix): Marlon Wayans relives his wedding day over and over in this remake of a 2000 Swedish romantic comedy with Regina Hall, Dennis Haysbert and Brian McKnight. “Under The Influence” (Reelz): George Michael and Prince

Aug. 13 – “$100,000 Pyramid” (ABC): Usher vs. Von Miller “Unsung” (TV1): Ice-T is profiled in the season finale.

Aug. 14 – “Pawn Stars” (History): O.J. Simpson’s infamous White Bronco is featured.

Aug. 15 – “Greenleaf” (OWN): The second summer season begins with a two-night premiere continuing tomorrow.

Aug. 16 – “Marlon” (NBC): Another Wayans series loosely inspired by his real live. His “Scary Movie” co-star Essence Atkins portrays his wife in this family sitcom premiering with back-to-back episodes. “Huang’s World” (Viceland): Los Angeles “Growing Up Supermodel” (Lifetime): Features Atiana De La Hoya (daughter of actress/model Shanna Moakler and boxer Oscar De La Hoya),Arissa Le Brock (daughter of supermodel/actress Kelly Le Brock and actor Steven Seagal), Cairo Peele (daughter of supermodel Beverly Peele) and more.

TASTY QUIP: “When I was 25, I said I don’t want to be a 30-year-old rapper. I’m 42 now, and I feel more and more that way. Do I really want to be 50 years old up there doing that? When I watch other rappers that are my age I commend them, but I just wonder where the inspiration is coming from. At this stage I’m really more focused on what I am going to be doing 10 years from now. And I hope to God it won’t be rapping. Rapping is like being a boxer. No matter how great you are or were at a certain time, the older you get, the slower you get. I don’t care who you are. And I can feel that coming on.” – ANDRE 3000 to Complex

 

As featured in the Los Angeles Wave and Independent, Tasty Clips is one of the leading entertainment newspaper columns on the West Coast, serving nearly one million weekly readers. To reach Bill Vaughan, send email to tastyclips@yahoo.com or via Twitter @tastyclips.

 

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